what a difference a week makes

wow, last week at this time I was at the newspaper in New London finishing up my last night as weekend photo editor. this sunday marks the end of one of my hardest weeks of my life. i got home monday and they released my dad from the hospital on tues. i took him over to the care home i arranged for him after we left the hospital. wed. morning at 6am he calls me saying i have to come pick him up right now because he could not spend another moment in another institution. the first night obviously did not go well. i guess there was some noisiness on the part of the staff at the shift change which pissed him off. plus he said he could hear someone down the hall moaning. so i am now a full time caregiver. the first 24 hours was the scariest. i had no idea what i was doing and i guess i still don’t. i didn’t sleep much that night because i kept going to check on him, swearing i heard him fall. he was asleep in bed everytime i went to look. i’m going to rhode island next weekend for 4 days so he knows he has to stay there while i’m gone. since wed, i’ve had him there almost everyday for a shower and for a 4-6 hour stay with hope that easing into it will make it seem less a big deal. i’m probably kidding myself because i know he will hate every moment of it.

he keeps trying to do things the way he has always done. not launching himself forward with the walker at a crazy 45 degree angle has been a tough concept to get through to him. his blood pressure still plummets when he gets up so he has to stand for a few moments before moving to let things level out a bit which he doesn’t always remember to do. today he had two dizzy spells but so far (knock on wood) hasn’t lost his balance. i have to get him dressed in the morning and poach his egg just right. i have to listen to him bitch about bush or the asinine commercials that he seems to feel forced to watch on t.v. but i think this is the fastest way to some sort of recovery. i’m not sure what is going to happen to my father over the next weeks and months. i hope he can come to connecticut for the wedding. the doctor said that he thought it would be ok. he would just need to get up from time to time.

i just wish he would brighten his attitude about everything. the reason he hates the care home so much, which by the way is not nearly as traumatic as he makes it seem, is that he sees a bunch of old ladies waiting to die and he sees himself in the same position. i try to tell him that this place is not going to be his future. it is a place that will keep him safe until he can get back on his feet again. i actually like all the ladies there and they like him quite a bit, but he won’t interact with them much. there is one lady there that definitely has alzheimers but she knows it. our first evening there she kept repeating that her husband owned the feed and seed store and did dad know him. finally after the 10th time the store came up dad said, oh you were just saying that. she apologized and said she didn’t mean to repeat herself all the time it just happens that way sometimes. dad says well that’s ok i thought maybe you had more than one husband that worked at the feed and seed store. she laughed and said no, just the one, and that’s all she could handle. so he could be charming if he wanted to. my mom had an uncle bill who was in his 90’s and would say when he got depressed he would go down to the nursing home and help out the old people. i wish dad would help out the old people instead of dwelling so much on how he was one too.

Ann - You really need to start that blog you were talking about–about taking care of our elderly parents.

Ugh, I am so sorry to hear that the healing isn’t going as planned. And that you are taking it on yourself. That is a lot of work. I can’t even imagine what you are going through. But I am thinking of you.

Make sure to take care of yourself, too.

Kate Gardiner - thanks. i went to the gym today for the first time since i’ve been back. i feel a little guilty right now because i’m sitting at home on the computer while he is stuck over at the care home.

A bit of vacation

So I am headed back to Phx tomorrow after spending 10 days in Connecticut. I had two weddings to shoot during that time, plus I owed The Day a couple of days. Plus I got a lot of stuff done for our wedding. I won’t be back in CT until Aug. 29 so I had to meet with a lot of our vendors while I was here.

It was a mixed blessing being here. It was nice to get a break and be able to think a bit outside of all that is happening with my dad. But it was incredibly hard to have to try to manage his healthcare over the phone.

He still is in the hospital. The rehab center was going to release him to the care home right before I left, but then they decided his blood pressure problem was too volatile to have him out of a hospital setting. So they sent him back to St. Joe’s neuro lab. He has now been there the entire time I have been gone.

There were some rough patches in the last week. He got extremely dehydrated and his medications were making him out of his head a bit with paranoia. He told me he thought he was in prison and that he’d been trying to call 911 for someone to come rescue him. Then he said that it was a conspiracy and that I was in on it to keep him prisoner.

That was one of the worst conversations I’ve ever had to listen to. It scared me so much. I called and talked to his nurse who said she was aware of the problem and had called the doctor. I talked to the doctoer later in the day and he said it was a combination of the dehydration and medication. They got an IV in him and my cousin Patty who went down after I called her in a panic said it really calmed him down and made him come around again.

Since then, they did a chest xray and cat scan to make sure that the blood pressure problem was not some rare form of cancer which it was not. However they did find a pulmonary embolism that was lodged between his heart and his lung. They thought with his inactivity lately it formed in his leg and broke off, making it’s way back north. They said it was sheer luck that it didn’t kill him. So they threaded a filter into the vain to prevent it or anything else that shouldn’t be there from making it back to the heart.

So it is a mixed bag going back there tomorrow. I’ll be more able to be on top of things, but not very fun things to be on top of.

Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers through this. My dsl still was not up and functioning when I left so hopefully more posts soon.

Ann - Kate,

I am so sorry to hear all of that. It must be so tough. I can’t even imagine. But I think of you and your dad often. You are so strong and wonderful.
I love you.


Kate Gardiner - thanks babe! i’ll call you this week.

American Healthcare for Older People Sucks

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers over the last week. I can’t believe that I’ve only been here a week. Dad is doing okay but is itching to get out of the rehab facility. They orginally were going to release him on Tuesday, but the docs couldn’t figure out why his blood pressure was so volital. One minute his blood pressure would be 144/80 lying down. They would have him sit up and it would go down a bit. Then he would stand up and it would plummit to 60/40. Scary stuff and a recipe for a stroke. It seems some of the medication the cardiologist had prescribed after his pacemaker was having a bad reaction. Of course they didn’t seem to figure this out until two days ago so he has been pretty unsteady on his feet all week, especially after he ate. You know how they say no swimming after you eat. Same reason, blood goes elsewhere besides your head.

I had the horrible task of looking for a nursing home for my father this week. The rehab facility seems hell bent on getting him out of there. I thought I had found one that wasn’t full of drooling people in the hallways that the insurance covered. It was called The Terraces.


The place looked like a spa and I was ready to put my dad there. Then I got a tip to ask to see their state survey. They got a D because some of their patients had fresh bed sores and an entire wing had urinary tract infections!! They only had 1 staff member for every 16 patients. Unbelievable!

I pray that none of you ever have to be in this position. But unfortunately because no one wants to even think about this time in their lives is the exact reason elder care is in such shambles. The Arizona Republic did a big story this past weekend about nursing homes where people died from neglect and were being sued by families. Would you believe that on the “preferred” Blue Cross/Blue Shield list actually had those same facilities listed!!!!

I can’t believe that any company who is interested in profits as much as insurance companies are would want their name associated with any sort of establishment that was such a liability.


But I found a solution. A wonderful organization here called ElderOp took me to different group homes. I was a little surprised to hear about group homes. I always thought group homes were for troubled teens or people who just got out of jail. I found this amazing care home (better name) that is a couple of miles from dad’s house. It is beautiful. Dad would be the 5th resident in this gorgeous huge ranch home. There are two staff members there at all times. The decor is very art deco/ frank lloyd wright. Their meals looked wonderful. They have a pool in the backyard that the residents can use, a brown, fat toto dog named buddy and a giant parrot named xena. It is in no way a nursing home, but a place where he can recoup with 24hour supervision and not feel like he is in an institution. Insurance doesn’t pay a dime, but clearly not having them associated makes for a much better environment.

The gal that runs the place is in her late 30’s and went to the same high school as I did. She is my new hero.

My internet connection will in theory be up at my dad’s house tomorrow so postings I hope will come more frequently.

Ann - That place sounds great.

Going Home

Sorry for my lack of posting over the last few months. Busy, would not discribe my life right now. For those of you who haven’t heard, my father fell in late May and fractured his skull. He bled into his brain a bit, but it isn’t as serious as it sounds. He spent two weeks at Barrows in St. Joe’s Hospital in Phx. Then he was transferred to Health South rehab in Scottsdale and has now been there for almost two weeks. His condition has improved greatly. The head injury affected his speach, swallowing and his short term memory, but overall he is still my dad. He doesn’t remember falling he just remembers sitting on the bed at home and the voice coming out of his mouth being garbled and alien sounding so he called 911. The big lump on his head definitely gave the doctors a clue as to what was going on.

I flew out to Phx a few days after it happened and spent a week there. It became abundantly clear to me that I needed to come and spend the summer there to help him get back on his feet. For the most part the decision was rather simple. I had already planned to quit my job at The Day the week before the wedding in Sept. so quitting a few months early wouldn’t be a big deal. I do have a few weddings booked to shoot in Connecticut this summer so I will fly back for those.

I came back to Connecticut for two weeks to wrap things up here. I felt I owed The Day two weeks notice. I leave Sunday for Phoenix very early in the morning.

There are so many things at the house that need to be done that have been a bit neglected since mom died. Dad is so arthritic that big projects have been too daunting for him. So I plan to get the house humming again, help dad through this tough time and hopefully pick up some freelance here and there.

I will also try to keep the blog up. I think this summer is going to be very difficult for my dad and I guess for myself. There is a huge possibility that dad will have to retire and maybe not live at the house anymore. Who knows. I’m trying to be optimistic but I don’t think he is happy being alone, but probably won’t be happy living anywhere else.

Ann - Kate,

You have to know that you are a wonderful daughter. I admire your strength.
Sending good thoughts to you and your dad.


Debbie - Hi Kate,

I am so sorry about your dad’s fall. I know it can’t be easy figuring everything out, but sounds like you are dealing with things well. It is hard when we have to help people we love cope with issues related to giving up independence. Know that you and your dad are in my prayers.

Call me anytime, if you want to talk.


New Blog coming

So I am revamping my other blog that will be attached to my kate gardiner photography website. I’m kind of fired up about it. I was talking with a bunch of other photographers the other day and they were talking about their blogs. I wasn’t sure what they were writing about until I checked some of them out. Mostly they cover cool photo things they find, cool wedding stuff or one guy had just written about chosing a new color for his bathroom. I’ll post again when it is up and running!

In the meantime, I am getting used to my new digs. My roommates are super cool. We get involved in conversations and then realize we are late for whatever we were off to do. So that is cool.

I am going to Daytona Apr 1-4 to rescue jason from living in boxland. I’m totally excited to get the place settled. I’ll post pix when I them.

new home

sorry i haven’t blogged in awhile. the last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. i went to florida to find a place for jason and i to live. i found this great apartment in a two family house. it was built in 1938 and reminds me of the inside of Henry Higgins house in My Fair Lady. If you haven’t seen this movie definitely put it on your netflix list. It is an enormous apartment. i’m not always the best judge of square feet but i know the place in new london we were living in was 700 sqaure feet and this place could easily fit 3 of our last apartments in it. and it is only $25 more a month than what we were paying here! i was a little dismayed when i first got there because i was sure we were going to have to live in one of those mega-plexes with 400 other people. i actually went to check one out that the lady there told me not to get too close to the pond at the complex because they did have an alligator problem from time to time. WHAT!!?? all of the swiming pools there have a mesh covering over them like a screened-in porch. i assumed it was just to keep the bugs down while you were out there, but no that is just a side benefit. it is so that you don’t get a surprise waiting for you in the deep end.

the other odd thing (and trust me there are many) are the billboards advertising specials on handguns at various “discount” gun shops. seriously they showed pictures of which guns were on sale. picture, for those of you in phx, a big billboard on camelback road not telling you about the latest offering from verizon wireless, but a big fat guy pointing the way to his gun store! man and i thought arizona was pretty gun obsessed.

oh and the drive thru cigarette shop was nifty too.

jason and i watched the movers pack up all our crap this week and load it in a truck headed to daytona. (i hope) that was an odd experience. it was great not having to do anything but god help you if you put anything down. my sunglasses were sitting next to my keys on the table and they packed my sunglasses. they also packed my phone charger which was still plugged into the wall. nice.

jason spent the last part of the week here up in springfield, mass. at a big racing expo. who knew they had these? he had to run the booth for the touring series he does p.r. for. we are meeting up in hartford tomorrow to have lunch before he has to fly back to daytona.

i moved my stuff that i managed to wrestle from the movers into my new digs which are literally right around the corner from where we were living before. i met these people through an ad on craigslist. i haven’t really seen them at all since i moved in. our schedules seem to be fairly opposite.

whew! guess that’s it for now.

Ann - glad you guys found a place.
the alligator thing is just a tad bit scary.

Jason’s First Day

So today was Jason’s first day. He left for Florida Tues night after work about 1:30am. He stopped in Delaware for a few hours of sleep at a hotel and then drove it the rest of the way. He got to Daytona about 1am Wed. night. Just talked to him and his first day was a whirlwind of nascar mucky mucks, names, faces and departments. he got an office. no window but it has a door. it is 9pm and he said he was going to read his book for a few minutes but would be asleep very soon. i don’t think he’s been to bed before midnight in a VERY long time.

Ann - Wow, that is a whirlwind!
Glad to hear it went well even tho. exhausting.

Big News

So up to this point I have been introducing the upcoming news as “So I have a bit of news”. But I’ve been told that is not “a bit” of news. And no I’m not pregnant.

Jason has been offered a job doing p.r. for Nascar. So as of Feb. 7, 2007 he will be a new resident of Daytona, FL. I’m going to stay here in New London until after the wedding. Then I will also be a new resident of the Sunshine State. None of this will affect the wedding plans. Too much is already rolling with that to change.

The job will be totally great for Jason. I’m so proud of him. Nascar has minor tracks the way baseball has minor leagues. Jason will be overseeing the p.r. for that segment of the organization. So he will be doing a lot of traveling at least in the beginning to familiarize himself the different tracks. Back during the summer he was talking to their head honcho saying that their website for news of the minor tracks sucked and here were 5 easy ways to fix it. They were farely impressed with what he had to say so they asked if he was interested in a job. They flew him down to Fla. the week of Thanksgiving for an interview. And then made the offer last week. We kept it under wraps until everything was official because this was great opportunity for him and didn’t want to jinx it!

They are paying to move us so all our furniture will be gone by the end of Feb. I’m hoping to move into this apartment around the corner from us where they are looking for another roommate. Should know by Wed. whether that will work out. Otherwise I may couch surf for a little while. I’ll keep everyone posted. Phone number will stay the same. I knew the moment I got that photo wall up this would happen! :O)

See I told you it was big news!

Ann - Wow. That is so cool Kate!
What an exciting adventure for the two of you.
I had to laugh when you said, no, I’m not pregnant.

Erica Kern - That is so exciting! I was waiting for the news because I saw you post something on Ann’s comments about news. Please extend my congrats to Jason. And, now I have a great reason to travel to FL!!! : )

Keep us posted.

Debbie - How exciting! Seems like a dream job. Congratulations!

Debbie B

Kate Gardiner - thanks everyone! although very freaked out about moving there at the moment. there were big storms with tornadoes today. 14 people died pretty much right in the area we are going to be looking for houses next week. great.

Erica Kern - Claudine’s parents live in FL and have never had a serious problem. Although, their condo is on an island and the island is sinking! Well, it is losing mass. When I was there in May there was a beach and when Claudine visited in December the beach was pretty much gone! The powers that be are building retaining walls and trucking in sand but it is sort of hard to fight Mother Nature. Eek!

Think of it this way, there is something everywhere…fires in AZ, earthquakes in CA, floods in the Pacific NW. Soon we’ll have locusts or the plague or something! : )

Happy house hunting. Keep us posted. Are you looking to buy?

My First Photo Wall

For years I’ve wanted to build a photo wall in my house. I always admired ann’s and wanted one too. however i HATE dealing with frames, mats, prints and hanging things. For some reason on this day I just was in a mood. I just started hanging everything. I just eyeballed it and it turned out pretty good. I’m going to add a few more small ones at the bottom.

Ann - glad i inspired you. looks good.
i still have to finish my walls at our “new” place.

as promised

ok so here are the long awaited photos of my ring! enjoy!

Erica Kern - It’s about time!!! The setting is absolutely beautiful. I love the shanks on the side of the diamond (is that the right word? I don’t know diamond ring speak?!?). : )

cold finally

well it finally feels like winter around here. after many days of temps within a few degrees of phx, yesterday it was only 30. Today my nifty weather station deb gave me for xmas a few years ago says 44. there are daffodils sprouting in my side yard. it seems they got confused. i need to get some mulch to cover them. poor things.

look i’ve blogged again!

wow this makes two now!

i got pictures today from a friend from college who just hatched a beautiful daughter, nora rose jarrold (yes ann, its adam) it is so weird how we are all at the ages our parents were when we were born. some, i know passed that point a couple of years ago, but times are different. i think people did adult things sooner then. they say 30 is the new 20 or something like that.

Erica Kern - My parents were 19 and 20 when they had my sister and 30 and 31 when they had me. Does that mean I should have 3 kids by my age??? Eek!

Ann - Eek is right!
No thanks. I can’t imagine being responsible for another human being.
It is weird that our friends (and us) are “growing up” and becoming (gulp) grown-ups.

Welcome 2007 and more blogging

So once again after much pestering about my lack of participation in my blog, i have returned. i am posting a photo which, hopefully will work better now that i have moved my blog into their new google system. jason and i did the polar bear dive again yesterday. this is our 5th year of our new years dunking. it almost seemed like cheating though. it was 53 degrees out and the tide was in. piece of cake.

p.s. there was a bit of photoshop done on this photo to keep it a p.g. rated blog.

Erica Kern - So glad you are posting again. I’ve missed you! What a cute pic of you two. Aren’t those traditions the best? I value the personal traditions Casey and I have, like always going to the Tempe street fair for our anniversary, so much.

As far as a felted bag, I would love to make you one. Do you want a clutch (to use as a purse) or one that is more of a cosmetic/junk bag to carry inside your purse? What colors do you like?

Ann - what exactly did you have to photoshop????

John Bohnenkamp - Come on, post the un-Photoshop version. 🙂

we’ve moved!

ok so at the risk of the whole world knowing where we live, our new address XXXXXXXXXXX

(i’ve deleted our address. if you didn’t copy it down then call me and i will send it to you.)
figured it would take me ages to actually send out a mass email. this weekend was a bit nuts because jason’s brother got married on sat. i shot the wedding and jason was in it. so after 11 hours of shooting, we fell into bed at 3am. jason’s mom and aunt knocked on our door at 7:30 which was great because otherwise i don’t think we would have gotten our rears out of bed until noon, we were that tired. other members of his family joined us through out the day so we had 8 people helping us move. it made it soooo much easier. the only downside is that i have no idea where anything is. i’ll post some pictures soon.

Erica Kern - I can’t wait to see pics of your gorgeous new abode!

holy cow twice in one week!

it is so wicked hot outside!!! i’m not knocking those living in the desert. but it is SUPPOSED to be that hot there. it doesn’t sneak up on you, it doesn’t prevent you from sleeping at night, and i swear i never had my eyeballs sweat the way they do here. of course being the good journalist i am, i have to go immerse myself in other people’s sweat misery and document people looking like they are melting into their shoes. this is harder to find than you might think. most people don’t walk down the street when they feel this way. they hide. so that leaves construction workers! which are oh so fun to shoot. that statement could be considered dripping with sarcasim if i was dripping with sweat!!

turning 30

so friday was my 30th birthday. i had some issues with it as i think i have written about on previous blogs. i stayed up on thursday night until midnight and i know this is going to sound pitiful, but i actually cried when it hit midnight. dumb, i know, especially since i wasn’t born until 1:30am on 7/28/76 and that was phx time. but i woke up friday morning, put on my frida khalo t-shirt (since i figured that if anyone didn’t give a rat about their 30th birthday, it would be her) and went about my day. i met with a bride first thing, went to the retired ladies home where i have been working on a photo project, had lunch with jason and then went to target, tipsy. yep, i was parked at target and jason dropped me off after i had a bomber sized corona at lunch. i highly recommend. i got to sober up while debating tiki torches or citronella candles. good times. sunday we had a big bbq in the backyard of our current house. which made it kind of a goodbye party as well as b-day party. but now i feel better about 30. i do feel like i’ve accomplished something and i also feel a slight divide between me and the 20-somethings that work here at the paper. but i guess that is ok. maybe the phrase should be changed to “don’t trust anyone UNDER 30!”

thanks to everyone for the calls, emails and cards. it made the day great!

Ann - Welcome to the 30 and over club! It really is kinda fun. 🙂 You have accomplished a lot in your life. I am glad the Corona helped. I don’t think I have ever been to Target tipsy. I just may have to try that some day.

Erica Kern - Hey, no complaining… every day I’m getting closer to 33 and not happy about it!!

Ann - Erica,

You are almost to the age of Christ! Woot-woot!

The age thing doesn’t bother me … yet. And the gray hairs don’t bother me … yet.

[ rising despite the false ] - K8, turning 30 is like being on a congested highway doing 80 mph for a long time, and your air-conditioner isn’t working and it’s really hot, and then finally getting to your exit and getting to your home or hotel or destination in general and getting out of the car and relaxing in your house or room or wherever, where you can be cool and comfortable and quiet and slower for a while, knowing that the highway is always there and you can get back on anytime you want. The number means nothing, really. You know that.

Happy birthday……late.


Erica Kern - Scott,

What a cool way to look at it. I’m going to remember that.

Kate Gardiner - thanks scott, you definitely put it in the right perspective. i had no idea you were a blog reader!
thanks babe,
grotto lover.

yes i suck

so it has been almost a month since i posted about going to martha’s vineyard and yes it was lovely. time got away from me and the longer i put it off the more i felt like i was behind. so quick re-cap.

the vineyard rocked. good photos.
4th of july kind of quiet. watched fireworks from porch.
sailfest was this past weekend in new london. old man drove
car into crowd injuring 30 people. no one died.
jason and i moving to new london august 12.
found great cheap place 2 minute commute instead of 25min.
amazing garden.

whew… now i feel better.

i will send out our address in email so that the whole planet won’t
know where we live.

Ann - I was wondering when my fellow bloggers were gonna post. glad to hear things are going well. 2-min commute is so wonderful!

Erica Kern - Damn! Now that you’ve posted something I am going to have to post something! I haven’t in some time and am long overdue. Maybe later…or tomorrow…

martha’s vineyard

i’m shooting a wedding this weekend on martha’s vineyard with my friend jacqueline. i’ve never been there before so it should be lovely. we are taking the ferry over saturday morning and then the wedding is sat. afternoon. we are spending the night and coming back on sunday afternoon. the weather is supposed to be just gorgeous too. i’ll post some pics when i get back.


so jason has started watching the world cup. but i have discovered that he only likes to watch it on telemundo. at first i thought this was dumb because he doesn’t speak spanish and wouldn’t know what the announcers are saying. but after watching germany (aleiman) score 3 goals in 18min, and heard the announcer yell GOOOOOOOOOOOL!! it is definitely better in spanish. not to mention that it is pretty funny to hear one of the announcers do a german accent everytime he pronounces the name of a player named von steiger.

Ann - He definitely wasn’t yelling that for the Americans at the match I went to.

Kate Gardiner - yeah, we watched. i looked for you guys! but didn’t see you. hopefully they did better today. jason wasn’t in a bad mood earlier so that seems to be a good sign. :O) love you hun!

Curt - It’s Schweinsteiger. Bastian Schweinsteiger. Plays for Munich and looks like he came straight out of an Alabama trailer park.